Scales or Cups in the Kitchen?

20160220_074533.jpgI hadn’t really given much thought to the difference in recipes between the Uk and the USA until yesterday. My closest American friend asked me why are there so many conversions for different liquids and solids from cups to grams?

My immediate response was I didn’t know and in fact after researching a little I’ve still no idea. Perhaps it’s because I’m so used to using scales I’m unable to see ‘outside the box’ on this subject. Although I came across this article (baring in mind this isn’t necessarily my view) Confusing Measurements.

As a child my mum used imperial measurements for years, so I learnt about ounces and pounds for weights. During my school years I had to learn both metric and imperial and be able to convert freely between the two. Whilst my children grew up I used just metric with them. However, we still talk about a pint of milk rather than in litres. Also when I pick the fruits from the trees I weigh in pounds and ounces but I do convert it. I have this image of when I was about 4 or 5 and weighing the most enormous cooking apple we’d picked on some red scales in pounds.

My parents (who live next door) tend to use imperial still but mum will claim she uses metric. Dad is amazing at being able to convert yards into miles, inches into centimetres and feet into metres within seconds.

Yesterday my daughter returned from University and took over in the kitchen with her friend. They’ve both worked in kitchens waitressing together for a year or so. They grabbed the digital scales and set to work in metric measurements along with the odd tablespoon measurement.

I’m still none the wiser when it comes to weighing in cups and all the conversions.

Advertisements

Butternut, Ginger and red Pepper Soup

20160131_120537.jpg

 

A tasty soup with a bit of a zing from the Ginger – mmm my  kind of soup.

 

Ingredients

1 Butternut squash, peeled and diced

1 red onion

1 or 2 red peppers

Coarsely grated ginger

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

parsley to garnish

75g of wholemeal/seeded bread cut into small chunks

1/2 tsp mixed herbs

800ml any stock of choice

2tbsp vegetable oil

20160131_115853.jpg

Method

  • Place the onion and garlic (if using) into the pan with the oil and cook until softened.
  • Add the butternut Squash, red pepper, ginger and chilli flakes
  • Stir being careful that nothing gets burnt
  • Pour the stock over the mixture
  • Leave to simmer with a lid on until the butternut is soft
  • Put the chunks of bread onto a baking tray. Drizzle with some of the oil and all the mixed herbs and season with black pepper.
  • Transfer to a blender until smooth
  • Serve with croutons and garnish in the middle

This soup freezes well.

20160131_120434.jpg

 

Tasty Delights

This week I’ve felt the need to be a little more conscious of what I’m eating. I’ve doubled the amount of water that I usually drink in a day and no snacking at all once I’ve eaten my evening meal. I’ve also been more active in an evening. I used to walk a lot in the evenings but it seems to have lapsed and just confined to a weekend. Also 15 minutes before eating an evening meal I’d eat half a grapefruit. The enzymes are supposed to help to burn fat though has it many other benefits in a diet.

I decided to make a hearty Chicken Chorizo & Chickpea Casserole.

20160128_174736.jpg

 

Adapt quantities for your household

Ingredients

2 large potatoes (adaptable)

1 tbsp vegetable oil

8 slices chorizo (adaptable)

2 chicken fillets (adaptable)

1 leek or onion

can of chickpeas (drained)

can of chopped tomatoes

tomato puree

300 ml chicken stock or stock cube

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1.5 tsp chillie flakes

Good handful of kale or spinach

Method

  • Bring the potatoes to the boil for 8 minutes and drain
  • Add the oil to a pan and cook the chicken pieces
  • Add the onion/leek and chorizo until onion/leek are softened
  • In a large pan/casserole dish put all the ingredients apart from the spinach/kale and bring to the boil.
  • Simmer for 30 minutes
  • Put in the spinach/kale for 5 minutes

Sprinkle the casserole with parsley, serve and enjoy!

As for my desert…

20160128_174723.jpg

Well it had to be a slice of homemade Coffee and Walnut cake!

Did I lose weight – yes and feel much better for it.

Freaky Frank Hour

In one hour minor mishaps seem to have occurred two of them down to Storm Frank.

Whilst hundreds in the Uk are suffering terribly with floods in and around their homes I feel I’m lucky not to have had this ordeal. My heart goes out to you guys but I did suffer a little drama.

I popped outside to shut the Ladies (hens) in for the night only to discover in the barn just outside their pen a ladder was strawn across the floor. Whilst my head was getting around this I noticed the metal wheelbarrow with chicken muck in, was upside down too.

There are two giant windows about 2m x 1.5m with a metal grid covered in plastic preventing the barn from most of the outside elements from coming in. As the frame is only attached at the top it acted like a hinge I suppose and knocked things flying. I’ve not known it to happen before. 2015-12-31 09.33.58 2015-12-31 09.35.17

My dad had been in there (he told me later) and moved an old wheelie bin (refuse bin on wheels) to prevent the frame from lifting. This in turn had caused havoc with the pecking order for the Ladies. Spangle likes to perch on the 14 foot high panel rather than sitting with the others at night. Moving the bin prevented her from reaching her post. She was running up and down inside the pen not knowing where to sleep. Sophie was squawking at her and Queenie appeared to be telling everyone off. The next minute Spangle flew to the perch everyone was on, sat on a few Ladies until eventually settling down next to Lacey. Humours chaos…

Back indoors I’d already started making a Passion Cake from a new recipe using bananas and pineapple. It was a little fiddly but I managed to get it into the Aga (oven) before going out to see to the Ladies. I took a peak at the cake on my return, it was partially burnt. I was surprised as cooking time was 60 – 70 minutes, this was 20 minutes into the cooking time! Slightly disheartened I moved it to the cooler oven as it wasn’t cooked through yet.

2015-12-30 17.08.52By now the rain was lashing at the kitchen windows and the wind was howling. It was pitch black outside. Then I noticed a large puddle of water on the work surface, where had this come from I wondered. I looked up at the window to see water seeping in from behind the closed air vents. There was a constant trickle of water coming in and not much I could do about it apart from mop up the puddles.

The rain subsided, the cake was cooked and the Ladies had all settled. Now all that was left to do was start making the dinner. Would I make the cake again? It tasted ok but not special, I’m tempted to bin it to be honest. I haven’t take a photo of it  (pride got in the way) as it looks a complete mess.

Frankly I’m relieved Storm Frank has fragmented. 🙂

 

 

Cranberry Relish Trial

2015-11-29 10.33.03

There were still a couple of hundred grams left of fresh cranberries left in the fridge. Thinking cap on – I happened to come across a recipe in a magazine and gave it a whirl.

I had to divide the ingredients by 3 as didn’t have quite enough berries.

Ingredients

1 large Orange – rind and juice

Ginger – small piece

100g Sugar

500g cranberries

Port (optional) splash 

I heated the juice, sugar and zest and boiled it gently until all the sugar had dissolved. Then simply added the cranberries – I didn’t have any port. I did add a little water as I felt it needed a little more liquid.

The cranberries start to split when it’s done. I’m quite looking forward to see how it tastes with meat and how the flavour develops as it cools.